Otweya residents stranded

Despite President Hage Geingob handing over houses to victims of the Twaloloka fire last week, these homes are only set to be ready next March.

14 September 2021 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES







WINDHOEK

Victims of the Twaloloka fire will languish in their makeshift tents a little longer because the houses built by government are inhabitable and may only be ready in March next year.

Last Friday, President Hage Geingob handed over 121 houses at Otweya informal settlement, formerly known as Twaloloka.

Walvis Bay Rural councillor Florian Donatus yesterday said the residents are in a state of confusion and his office has been flooded with complaints from beneficiaries.

Donatus, who also heads the constituency’s disaster risk management committee, said a house without access to powerlines in an urban setting is considered incomplete.

“We are supposed to wait for all paperwork to finish and also wait for all houses to be connected to the power grid before we hand them over. I know we will connect the houses to electricity as the tender was already awarded, but what was the rush to hand over houses that are incomplete? We have attracted unnecessary attention to Otweya,” he said.

According to him, residents are now demanding answers on when they can access their homes and cannot understand why they cannot move in when the president has given the green light.

“Our poor people don’t understand all this thing you’re asking about, deed of properties, etc. All they were supposed to get is a complete house free of all trouble. “I am urging our recipients to please hold on and I have trust we will iron out all the hold-ups and they will soon be moving into their complete houses, fully connected to water and electricity,” he said.

Very sorry

“I am very sorry for what happened to them and, as their leader, I will not rest until they are fully satisfied,” Donatus said.

Meanwhile, Erongo regional governor Neville Andre told Namibian Sun on Sunday evening that he has not received any complaints about the houses.

According to him, the residents were set to start moving in yesterday and would be granted access to electricity and water.

“The houses will be having water and electricity when they move into the house. Each owner is asked to connect their water at the municipality. They are all aware and it has been communicated.

“I did not receive any complaint and we have the project manager and the committee who always communicate with me and the regional councillor for the constituency,” he said.

Further questions sent to the governor went unanswered.

No reply

It has in the meantime come to light that Andre failed to respond – since March – to a letter from Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes.

In the letter, Forbes asked what control measures were put in place to curb potential corruption that was rife during the rollout of the Mass Housing Project.

He also asked Andre to avail copies of the project including the budget and additional funding for the benefit of the public, who often appeal to the municipality for answers.

Forbes asked Andre to give an update on whether the beneficiaries of the houses have been granted title deeds or any form of ownership.

According to Forbes, they wrote to the finance ministry in June asking that the procurement process be fast-tracked, however, several delays crept in.

“No houses are currently supplied with electricity. To electrify all 121 is a six-month project. The period is six months from Friday, 10 September,” Forbes said.

“The contractor said he will try to speed up depending on material supplies.”

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